By the Window, an ekphrastic poem

The old trellis

leans against the time-weathered window.

Rudbeckia crowds reach their faces upward–

their brown gumdrop centers

encircled by petals like yellow sun rays.

These bursting blooms endure across years and shout

Even when

No one lingers to witness such glory.

May I pass by and stop.

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Molly at https://nixthecomfortzone.com/. Be sure to stop by and enjoy a bit of summertime poetry!

Poetry Friday

Christie Wyman’s Poetry Ponderings class began this week. We explored the functional, flexible, and fun list poem. The varieties are endless. My thoughts were drawn to my sisters. Our parents are gone and as we are getting older now, we depend on each other in new ways. We have an older brother, but he has always lived far away. The three of us live within 30 minutes of each other and are very grateful.

A sister can be…

a partner for jumprope
an opponent for games
a cheerleader
a joker at the table
an alto in the choir
an accompanist extraordinaire
a maker of beautiful things
sewn, knitted, or embroidered
a friend
a companion on walks
a sharer of stories
a potato salad making wizard
an appreciator
a “Faithful Fretter” when things are hard
a recommender of books
a constant in times of change

for always

Sisters

Poetry Friday Round-up is graciously hosted today by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche



Fireworks

I have been out of the habit of attending the 4th of July fireworks in my town even though we live just up the street from where they are presented. It started when I had a child who could not bear the sensory overload of flashing lights and booming sound. Later, it was I who could not bear the mosquitos and crowds. And then, there was often a grandbaby to stay with that made it easy for me not to go. But this year, on Sunday, the 4th of July, I was coaxed into going.

“It’s just down the street. You can go home if you need to, but come!”

I sat on a neighbor’s concrete driveway and waited until dark. I looked up and saw splendor I had forgotten. The lights, colors, booms, and thrill of not knowing what would come next. I tried to pay attention and be present this year. (We have been through a lot as a nation, and it seems more has been criticized than celebrated.) But, that’s an essay for another time. Instead, here is my poem to try to capture some of the experience I had celebrating our America.

Spirals of fiery light

Shoot toward the stars.

A ball of light bursts into luminescent spokes

Tipped with red, white, and blue.

Colored bits of light fall like confetti and disappear,

Leaving spider veins of smoke etched on the night sky.

Then, flash!

A ball of light surges upward again and again,

Erupting to rain fronds of sparkling weeping willow boughs.

Glittered fire-anemones briefly kiss the sky

Like celestial Queen Anne’s Lace.

It’s a wonder to consider

what gave man the desire to send earthly joy to

the glories of the night sky–even if just for a moment.

“We seek the fire of the spark that is already within us.” ― Kamand Kojouri
Writing slices of life Tuesdays and each day in March. Thank you twowritingteachers.org

For Jane

When warm weather calls
and the grass is just green
there’s a time of day
when bunnies can be seen.

Jane is my daughter who
loved bunny hunts best.
“Mommy, look!” she would say
“It’s our small, furry guest!”

Now she’s a mom,
her baby still new.
Will she teach him of bunnies,
spring green, and sky blue?

Baby feet, April 27, 2021
Writing on Tuesdays and every day in March.



Ars Poetica

I have read this term before, but it wasn’t until last night that I got to learn more about it. It was our last class with Georgia Heard in this series of classes. She taught us that Ars Poetica is a term for a poem that is a meditation on the art of poetry, the poet’s beliefs about poetry, where poems are found, or what poetry could be in an individual’s life. This form of poetry dates back to Horace in 65 B.C.E. and has been part of poetic literature ever since. We read Ars Poetica by Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton, Jose Olivares, and Georgia Heard.

I am a beginner on this road; a novice at poetic forms and techniques; an emerging reader and writer of poems. I’m enjoying being a learner and am trying new things in my writing. This community has contributed to my having courage to do this.

Georgia gave us an exercise which I will share. Perhaps your students would take these questions and create something truly wonderful.

  • What kind of animal is your inner poet?
  • Who does your inner poet speak to?
  • What does your inner poet say?

In our group, these were the animals chosen: lion, spider, wolf, owl, haw, doe, deer, sparrow, striped bumblebee, and hummingbird. It was remarkable that there was so much variety. We did it as a quick write in the moment. Here is what I wrote last night. It is a DRAFT, at best, but I share it to give you an idea of something you might try.

Ars Poetica

My inner poet is a great blue heron
standing still in hidden wetlands.

It speaks to the tides flowing in and out.
It speaks to quiet souls who weep.

It says, Be patient.
Wait for the miracle. Watch and wait.

Thank you to all at Two Writing Teachers who support teacher-writers in growing as writers.

Form

As a music student, I was introduced to the concept of musical forms such as the sonata, fugue, or symphony. My teacher felt that a study of form across disciplines plus a study of how to listen would provide a deep education for anyone who pursued that path. I became a better listener of music when I knew more about form.

Fast forward nearly 50 years and I am back in the study of form. This time poetic form. My task this week was to write a poem in a form created by Marilyn Singer called a Reverso. You can read about the form and her poetry here. I have struggled to write such a poem, but I did learn a practice technique that helped me.

First, draft your thoughts.

Next, write words, phrases, or sentences on strips of paper (1 line of poetry per strip).

Then, play with the strips. Change the sequence or tear it in half to make two lines. Discard unnecessary language. Add necessary language or revised language.

Finally, decide on the order that becomes the poem you want to write.

Publish.

My poem-draft is too rough to share here, but below is a picture of my workspace. This practice technique took away some of the frustration and fear associated with writing a reverso. Maybe it will help you or your students with their poetry!

Bread Baking

So

Many

Memories

Returning today

As we make bread dough

Cup by cup with water

Yeast, flour, sugar, salt, and oil.

Soon our senses will burst with smells

And tastes of homemade goodness and love.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for this month of stories.

Poems in the Chat

For many of us, Zoom and similar platforms have been a blessing and a curse. For me, Zoom has been mostly a blessing which has allowed me to make new friends and stay in touch with family.

The chat function is an interesting feature. It can enhance what it being said; it can hold questions; it can provide humorous asides (or snarky comments); it can provide links for further study. In my experience with my writers group at TeachWrite, the chat does all of these things. Sometimes, serendipitous things happen.

One night, a group member was listing her writing goals for the week and ended with “and a partridge in a pear tree.” We all laughed. Next up, the science teacher. He listed his goals, but shook his head when others tried to add the partridge to his list. A chat opportunity opened!

I started with “A falcon in a fir tree?”
Someone else followed with “An owl in an oak tree?”
Then, “A sparrow in a spruce?”
And, “A cardinal in a conifer?”

I realized in that moment, my community of writers had extemporaneously collaborated on a small poem-ish text. It was a moment of happiness for me. I felt I belonged.

Image from Pixaby.com

March 31, 2020

Only the explosion of blossoms and buds,

Only the shouts of children playing games,

Only the love from my children and grandchildren,

Only the connection with friends on Zoom,

Only the walks among trees and along rivers,

Only the kind helpers in neighborhoods,

Only the words shared on these pages,

Only the music and poetry,

Only the walls of home,

Only time,

Only this.

This is not small.

Thank you to the amazing educators at TWO WRITING TEACHERS who give so much of their time and talent to supporting students and teachers. I’m forever grateful.



March 2020 Slice of Life Writing Challenge